West Mercia Police chief formally apologises to family of ex-Ipswich Town footballer Dalian Atkinson

West Mercia Police Chief Constable Pippa Mills (left) apologised to the family of footballer Dalian Atkinson (right). Photos: PA
West Mercia Police Chief Constable Pippa Mills (left) apologised to the family of footballer Dalian Atkinson (right). Credit: PA

The chief constable of West Mercia Police has apologised to the family of ex-Ipswich Town star Dalian Atkinson over his death.

Atkinson died after PC Benjamin Monk kicked the 48-year-old in the head at least twice and used a Taser on him during an arrest.

The footballer died in hospital after losing consciousness near his childhood home in Meadow Close, Telford, Shropshire, in August 2016.

Pippa Mills, who took over from Anthony Bangham as the head of West Mercia Police in September, wrote there was an “obligation” for her to write to the family on behalf of the force to “acknowledge and accept” that his human rights were breached in this case.

Monk was convicted of manslaughter and jailed for eight years in June.

Jurors heard he fired a Taser three times, including a single 33-second discharge, and left two bootlace prints on Atkinson’s forehead.

West Mercia Police constable Benjamin Monk Credit: Steve Parsons/PA

Chief Constable Mills' letter read: “A police uniform does not grant officers immunity to behave unlawfully or to abuse their powers.

“Ben Monk’s conduct was in direct contradiction to the standards and behaviour of the policing service, and understandably undermined public confidence.”

She added: “I am deeply sorry for the devastating impact the actions of a West Mercia officer has caused you and I extend my deepest condolences to you all, and Dalian’s wider family and friends.”

CC Mills also said she recognised the incident was “devastating” for the family, adding: “I cannot imagine the immense pain you have felt and how the significant delays with the trial have also added to your burden of grief.

“You have demonstrated great strength and dignity throughout the past five years.”

The family’s lawyer, Kate Maynard of Hickman and Rose solicitors, said the official apology is “welcomed and overdue”.

She said: “The chief constable’s acknowledgement that a police uniform does not grant immunity is especially pertinent in a year that has seen other terrible examples of deadly police violence.

“With the first conviction of a serving police officer on a manslaughter charge connected with his policing duties in over 30 years, it is hoped that this will serve as a deterrent, and also embolden those who seek police accountability.”